Business Magazine

Investing in Corporate Governance Practice in Palestine

Posted on the 17 September 2014 by Center For International Private Enterprise @CIPEglobal
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Program Officer Stephen Rosenlund discusses best practices in corporate governance based on CIPE’s experience in the MENA region.

On September 9-10 in Ramallah, I had the privilege of participating in a CIPE-supported training workshop on corporate governance with the leaders and technical staff of nine Palestinian chambers of commerce from the West Bank. This was an unprecedented gathering organized by our partner the Palestine Governance Institute (PGI) and the Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture to activate the chambers as resources for their member firms on corporate governance matters.

The two-day training workshop immersed participants in applicable legal and regulatory frameworks, the role of oversight institutions, and best practices in corporate governance at the firm level. While the different requirements applicable to publicly traded and private companies were examined, presenters emphasized the imperative for all firms regardless of size or ownership structure to adopt sound corporate governance practices. Data from numerous studies show that investing in corporate governance is a good business decision that enhances the performance and sustainability of companies. In addition, it has a positive aggregate effect on society in the form of economic development.

Moreover, well-governed companies tend to act ethically — by resisting paying bribes, for example — and therefore reduce the amount of corruption in society. A private sector that has its own house in order is also better positioned to engage in dialog with public officials to bring about needed policy, legal, and regulatory reforms that will improve the environment for business.

Deputy Assistant Minister of National Economy Dr. Hazem Shunnar emphasizes the link between good corporate governance and economic development. Flanked by Chairman of the Palestine Stock Exchange Dr. Farouq Zuaiter and PGI Executive Director Dr. Hisham Awartani.

Deputy Assistant Minister of National Economy Dr. Hazem Shunnar emphasizes the link between good corporate governance and economic development. Flanked by Chairman of the Palestine Stock Exchange Dr. Farouq Zuaiter and PGI Executive Director Dr. Hisham Awartani.

As primary service providers and focal points for businesses at the local level in Palestine, chambers of commerce have a unique role to play in raising awareness of the benefits of good corporate governance among their members and encouraging companies to undertake needed internal reforms. The enthusiasm and dedication of the chamber professionals who participated in this week’s training workshop will surely be a catalyst for more comprehensive governance reforms in Palestine.

This activity was part of a larger CIPE project with PGI to advance democracy in Palestine through corporate governance. Over the past several years, the program has encompassed comprehensive assessments of the governance environment for listed and unlisted firms and the publication of corresponding guidebooks for the private sector, education and awareness raising among business owners and rising professionals from the business and law faculties of local universities, and assessments of governance in various public and private sector institutions that include consensus reform recommendations.

A new CIPE case study which I co-authored with Dr. Awartani more richly describes CIPE’s and PGI’s strategy for reform through corporate governance. I hope you will read it and be inspired by the work of such a strong CIPE partner as PGI!

Stephen Rosenlund is a Program Officer for the Middle East & North Africa at CIPE.


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